The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published a Seniors Strategy in March, 2018 focused on investor protection for the aging population (an estimated 1 in 4 Ontarians will be aged 65 or older by 2041). The financial lives of individuals aged 65 and older are becoming more complex, with incomes coming from more potentially volatile sources, higher debt levels, and a greater share of assets in less liquid assets, such as real estate, than was the case 20 years ago. For many people, aging can also be accompanied by health changes, which makes them susceptible to fraud. These trends indicate that Ontarians will be called upon to make complex financial judgments later in life, with higher stakes and more challenges, than may have been the case for previous generations.
The Seniors Strategy developed by the OSC is meant to be inclusive, social, and responsive. These three guiding principles in turn are to inform the OSC's policy-making, operations, research, education, and outreach initiatives with respect to older Ontarians.
The key elements of the Seniors Strategy include:
- Developing a flexible and responsive framework to address issues of financial exploitation and cognitive impairment among older investors;
- Empowering registered firms and representatives to better protect older clients;
- Addressing registered firms' and representatives' use of confusing and misleading marketing;
- Strengthening Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) dispute resolution process;
- Breaking down the silos between different regulators and organizations toward a common goal of designing policies and programs that serve the interests of older individuals in areas such as powers of attorney and privacy laws;
- Building capacity among OSC staff to continually improve the ways in which they work with older investors;
- Further research on the challenges and issues faced by different segments of older investors; and
- Enhancing the education and outreach activities to provide tools and resources for older investors, their families and caregivers who support them, as well as their registered firms and representatives, and educating older investors regarding those tools and resources.